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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Automated Brewing Forum > DIY automation options comparison
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:21 PM   #1
mattd2
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Default DIY automation options comparison

I am starting a DIY automation build - taking it in stages; initially temp monitoring/control (i.e. replacement of my Sestos PID), then onto multiple temp sensing/control. Then assisted brewing (the computer brains knows what valves to open but requires me to actually do it), then finally look at implementing auto-valves. All this controlled through a local 3.2" LCD touch screen.
I have started with an Arduino Mega due to price and I/O. But since making that purchase a number of other options have come to light. Does anyone have a good resource for comparing the typical options or just reply here with your personal experience.
What would be nice is to have a list of common areas of comparison and each board rated/eveluated against it, i.e. I/O, Memory, Standalone/Laptop/other equipment required, etc.
My thoughts (which could be very wrong):
Arduino Mega/Uno - Good/OK IO count, processor scould be low for a complex system (controller in charge of graphical outputs).
Raspberry PI - Low IO, powerful processor, easy to implement HMI screen as it is basically a small computer
Arduino Due - Good IO count, faster processor, better choice than Mega/UNo if stand-alone HMI screen wanted
Arduino Yun - Combination of a PI and Uno in one board - haven't looked into thios one much
Beaglebones Black - Like a PI with more IO(?) - haven't looked into thios one much

So can any of you guys shead some more like (or just your opinions) on each of these (or other) boards, and in what situations one trumpts the others.
Cheers

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Old 10-14-2013, 05:07 AM   #2
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I made mine with arduino mega ADK (capable of interacting with an android device). I had more than enough inputs to control 2 pumps, 2 elements, have two temp probes, an LCD display and inputs from all the switches so I knew the different states of the switches. My plan was to use the android as a graphical interface. I never got that far cause the LCD screen was enough for me. Im planning on updating it and using one of THESE for an interface. It has its own processor so helps with the display.

As far as raspberry pi ive only played so far but everything Ive read seems you need extra parts to get the required I/O

The Arduino Yun is more for network with linux, the full extent of what the linux is capable of Im not fully sure. However the Arduino TRE is a promising all in one solution that is coming out soon

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Old 10-14-2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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I saw the ADK Android tablet interface feature after I bought the Mega and thought I had made a mistake, but sounds like I might not have missed too much from your experience.
Had a quick read on the Tre and it sounds like a combo of the Beaglebones (TI) and Arduino UNO which might result in the ability to provide onboard link between the full Linux operating system and the IO.
I am still leaning towards the Due for the easiest microcontroller with power - What I want is something that can run a LCD touch screen quickly and have a decent amount of spare IO for sensors / controls. I feel like the movement towards a Linux OS on the board is moving away from an embedded controller towards "we'll just stick an actual computer there." I really don't want to learn to deal with Linux even if it does add function (that sounded a bit close minded but hopefully it made sense )

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Old 10-14-2013, 09:50 PM   #4
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So looking around on HBT some more and there seems to be a bit of talk comparing controllers, but mostly A vs. B (mostly Arduino vs. RPi) and not an overall comparison of different boards.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f235/hel...ations-402483/
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/arduino...puter-for-you/
This has kind of consolidated my choice - stick with the Arduino Mega + touchcreen LCd for now. Then move to a Due to "quicken" up the LCD display. Then once I have things as I like them for a stand-alone controller start looking at a RPi or BBblack for a mini-computer to interface/update the Arduino.

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Old 10-15-2013, 02:16 PM   #5
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I'm interested to this effect.

I am thinking of going Arduino Mega, because someone else local just built a rig with one, so I could stare at his wiring when I get stuck.
The ADK confuses me, it makes it sound like you can ONLY control it with Android?

I would be interested in going Rasp. Pi. because they look cool and I'm more curious about them, as they seem to be simpler than Arduino to pick up, perhaps?

I have way too many (real, desktop) computers lying around the house, so it seems silly to buy any kind of purpose built mini-PC when I could just run some kind of... relay board?... off of a Windows PC. Especially since I would love to someday have a touch-screen GUI, and it sounds like Arduino Mega gets a little slow when you force it to GUI itself to death, yeah?

I thought about a BCS but am hesitant to get locked in to their stock UI.

I have not gotten very far in my research on it, though. Part of me is tempted to fall back on a PID design, get something built that works, and save the automation for another year.

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Old 10-15-2013, 09:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriso View Post
I'm interested to this effect.

I am thinking of going Arduino Mega, because someone else local just built a rig with one, so I could stare at his wiring when I get stuck.
The ADK confuses me, it makes it sound like you can ONLY control it with Android?

I would be interested in going Rasp. Pi. because they look cool and I'm more curious about them, as they seem to be simpler than Arduino to pick up, perhaps?
Yeah the ADK was one of the first Arduino boards that made me question my decision to go with the Mega, but now I have put aside the ADK as I don't want to have to deal with learning another thing before getting up and running. That is also my current feallings with the RPi or BBB as it throughs Linux in the mix and although it may be simple I just want to first concentrate on the controls. As far as I see it either way you will need to learn some language to write the code - Arduino makes that choice for you with wiring/"c++" where the linux based boards let you decide. I'm ok being told what to learn
Quote:
I have way too many (real, desktop) computers lying around the house, so it seems silly to buy any kind of purpose built mini-PC when I could just run some kind of... relay board?... off of a Windows PC. Especially since I would love to someday have a touch-screen GUI, and it sounds like Arduino Mega gets a little slow when you force it to GUI itself to death, yeah?
Yeah I have seen a example of the Mega going slow with a demo of the 3.2" LCD and my few examples I have coded arn't super quick (quick enough for now though). The Due ups the clock speed to 84 MHz and uses a bit more powerful ARM chip and that looks quicker for onboard HMI - and the IO count is approximately the same as the Mega.
Quote:
I thought about a BCS but am hesitant to get locked in to their stock UI.
My thoughts too, even the brewtroller is a good deal different to the standard Arduino so going from their work would not be as simple as you would think.
Quote:
I have not gotten very far in my research on it, though. Part of me is tempted to fall back on a PID design, get something built that works, and save the automation for another year.
One step ahead of you there then, I have got a simple 1 PID + manual controls panel setup that I have been using for about a year now. Finally trying to move forward with automation (in steps). Just at the first stage of getting the LCD setup and monitoring kettle/hlt inlet temps and potentiall swapping out the PID for the Arduino but leaving the rest as is... for now
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:21 AM   #7
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My plan is to go with the BeagleBone Black. For me it seems like a mix between Arduino and RaspberryPi Merged and for $45. It will probably be a slower process for get to get it all done and finished and graphical but I will get there slowly. I just like the specs and it can run android. Lookup the "Capes" for it. touchscreen LCD is pretty cheap for it. My main goal is to have it web interface. Personally working with a raspberry pi and owning a piface board for it, I wouldnt go that route. If not the BBB then I would go with a arduino product.

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Old 10-21-2013, 01:43 AM   #8
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Start by writing down all the things you want your system to be able to do and how you want to interact with it. The basic temperature control machinery easily fits on an 8 bit chip so when it comes down to it so it's mostly about what bells and whistles you want and can be bothered to program.

You can do much more with a BeagleBone than an Arduino Mega, but there is a Arduino large code base already out there that will speed the development process up. I happen to have a Mega so that's what I am going to use. It shouldn't be that hard to adapt the BrewTroller code.

I might think about a web interface once I've got the thing up and running, but seeing as it's been a 6 months already and still just a pile of bits, one thing at a time. A serial link is perfectly adequate for any IO that needs to be done so all that can be bolted on as and when. It doesn't necessarily all need to be on the same board.

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